Cuba travel ban affects 500 Turks
Turkish tourists visiting Cuba have been affected by U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent decision to ban cruise ships sailing to the largest island in the Caribbean, tour operators said on June 18.
Trump imposed new restrictions on travel to Cuba due to the socialist regime’s support of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, whose presidency has been deemed illegitimate by the United States and many of its allies in Europe and South America.
Hundreds of Turkish tourists en route from Mexico to Cuba had to change their travel itineraries during the Eid al-Fitr holiday between June 1 and June 10, said travel agency ProntoTour chairman Ali Onaran.
“We estimate that because of the ban, a total of 500 Turkish citizens were aggrieved who were planning to spend their [Eid al-Fitr] holiday in Cuba. In order to provide relief, we diverted our passengers to airborne tours instead,” he said.
Turkish tourists were supposed to be carried to the Cuban capital Habana via cruise ships from the Mexican port of Cozumel; however, cruise ship operators canceled all their Cuba routes after the announcement from the White House.
Some tourists were offered other options after being denied sea travel to Cuba.
“After the ban, the travel agency offered a refund or a flight from Miami to Cuba. But flight tickets were too expensive. So, they offered a Caribbean tour instead,” a Turkish customer of Tura Turizm, who wanted to stay anonymous, told daily Akşam.
On the other hand, continuation of commercial flights to Cuba as usual allows tourists to travel to the island country.
The average price for trips to Cuba has been in decline since the restrictions, said Cem Polatoğlu, spokesperson of the Tour Operators Platform.
“Americans often used to opt for sea lines to travel to Cuba. Now, it is the best time for Turks to go to Cuba because the tour prices have decreased,” he said, citing that a Cuban tour of seven nights and eight days now costs 1,299 euros, down from 1,599 euros.